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Following a detailed assessment of the impact of the 18 months Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) in Market Jew Street, and analysis of feedback from all parts of the local community, members of the Healthy Streets PZ partnership have agreed that the scheme should be made permanent.

Background:
Introduced in September 2020 to help reduce traffic and pollution levels in the town centre and create a better environment for all, the first phase of the Healthy Streets PZ scheme currently restricts cars and delivery vehicles from entering Market Jew Street between 11am and 4pm, providing space for pedestrians and cyclists to move around safely and comfortably.

Emergency vehicles, buses and taxis (up hill only) are able to access the town centre 24 hours a day, with all traffic able to enter Market Jew Street without restrictions between 4pm and 11am.

Led by members of the Healthy Streets PZ partnership, and funded by the Government’s Active Travel Fund, the scheme also supports the aims set out in the Climate Emergency declarations made by the Town Council and Cornwall Council and the Local Transport Plan to promote sustainable transport and cut carbon emissions.

99% of people responding to a survey carried out in 2021 said that having safe roads was important to them, with 72% wanting access to good cycle routes and facilities, and 92% wanting good bus services. 84% wanted to see lower levels of traffic and congestion, and lower levels of traffic pollution. These findings reflect the views expressed by local residents during the Penzance Expo and Neighbourhood Plan consultation in 2018.

Prior to the introduction of the scheme, up to 250 vehicles per hour were entering Market Jew Street between 11 am and 4 pm. In October 2020 this had dropped to 90 to 100 vehicles per hour.

The latest traffic monitoring figures for January 2022 show 30 to 40 vehicles per hour entering the town centre during the restricted period – an 80% reduction which marks a significant change in motorised traffic frequency, with deliveries being mainly made outside the 11 – 4 restricted period.

The traffic monitoring also shows a sharp rise in the number of pedestrians using Market Jew Street between 11 am and 4pm.

This means an average of just 35 vehicles an hour are now entering Market Jew Street during the restricted period compared with over 270 pedestrians an hour during weekdays, making it safer and much more pleasant for pedestrians, including parents with young children and cyclists, to move around the town centre between 11 am and 4pm.

As the Market Jew Street restrictions were introduced under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), a formal decision on whether they should be made permanent is required at the end of the agreed period.

As a result of the decision of the Healthy Streets partnership, a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) confirming that the existing restrictions in Market Jew Street will remain in place following the end of the trial will be published on 24 February, with the scheme officially becoming permanent on 2 March.

This means the low traffic zone will continue to operate in Market Jew Street between 11am and 4pm, improving safety, tackling air pollution and creating a cycle and pedestrian friendly zone in the town centre as requested in community consultations. Emergency vehicles, taxis and buses will continue to access Market Jew Street 24 hours a day.

Improving accessibility
One of the key aims of the Healthy Streets scheme has been to improve accessibility to the town centre for all parts of the community.

The introduction of the low traffic zone has made it safer for pedestrians, including parents with young children, and cyclists of all ages to move around the town centre.

Buses have continued to access Market Jew Street 24 hours a day. Nine bus services per hour currently bring passengers from nearby towns and surrounding areas into the centre of the town, servicing the bus station and Market Jew Street before leaving Penzance by different routes. (3 per hour from Newlyn and Mousehole, 2 per hour from Heamoor and 1 per hour from St Just and Pendeen, Madron, Rosecadghill and Manor Way and from Gwavas and Newlyn Coombe)

Since the introduction of the scheme, there has been a significant investment in bus services in Cornwall. New low emission buses with low floor access have been introduced across the network, making it easier for parents with pushchairs and people with disabilities to get on and off the vehicles. A new bus stop has been installed in Market Jew Street, providing a safe, dry space for passengers to wait. Further downhill bus stop improvements in Market Jew Street are also being explored as part of the developing Town Deal streetscape scheme.

The introduction of the new interoperable tickets, which enable passengers to catch any bus that covers their route regardless of which bus operator they buy their ticket from, means it is now much easier for passengers to use different bus services. Cornwall has also been chosen by the Government to pilot a reduced bus fares scheme which will begin in the Spring.

Taxis have also accessed MJS 24 hours a day, stopping in the town centre to drop off and pick up passengers as required. Emergency vehicles have also been able to drive through Market Jew Street as required.

Access will continue in the same way for these groups, with all traffic, including delivery drivers, still able to drive through Market Jew Street between 4pm and 11 am.

Supporting older people and those with disabilities and mobility problems
The Healthy Streets partnership recognise the importance of ensuring that older people and those with disabilities can access the town centre and met with representatives of disability groups before the scheme was introduced to discuss the proposals.

“As a result of these initial discussions, the timing of the introduction of the restrictions were changed from 10 am to 11 am so that people who need to drive right up to particular premises, attend appointments and do their shopping have a longer period in which to do so.

Since then, the project team have worked hard to make reasonable adjustments to the original scheme, adding a number of measures to improve accessibility in the town in response to further feedback from disabled user groups and individuals.

Plans are currently being developed in partnership with the Town Deal Board to deliver further improvements. These include providing up to 21 designated spaces for blue badge holders in and around the town centre, improving routes into the town centre to ensure they are fully accessible to people with disabilities, and introducing the shop mobility scheme.

Existing and future improvements include:
Trebling the number of ‘blue badge’ designated parking spaces in and around the town centre
Although there have never been designated Blue Badge parking spaces in Market Jew Street, some blue badge holders have parked in the 7 limited waiting bays. Prior to the introduction of the scheme there were 5 disabled parking spaces on Prince’s Street and 4 spaces in Chapel Street. Last year Cornwall Council provided 3 new dedicated blue badge spaces at Clarence Street car park.
The Healthy Streets team are now working with the Town Deal programme to develop plans for a further 3 blue badge spaces at the loading bay at Lower Market Jew Street, 4 additional spaces on Prince’s Street and 2 spaces at the overnight taxi rank on Greenmarket. There is also the potential for 2 additional spaces at the loading bay on Albert Street – providing an additional 14 blue badge parking spaces (a total of 21 spaces including the use of the limited waiting bays in Market Jew Street) in the vicinity of the town centre. Implementing these plans will require funding to be identified and the submission of a Traffic Regulation Order, and will include public consultation which is due to take place in March.

Introducing a shop mobility scheme
Last year funding from the Government’s Town Deal Accelerator grant scheme was used to buy eight electric mobility scooters, six electric wheelchairs and six manual wheelchairs. This equipment is currently being stored at the old former St John’s Ambulance Hall while plans for introducing the scheme are finalised. Work is taking place to identify bases for the scooters in key locations such as the harbour and the top of the Market Jew Street, and it is hoped that the scheme will be up and running after Easter.

Creating more accessible routes into the town centre
The project team are working with Cornwall’s Highways team and the Town Deal board to develop plans for improving access into the town centre. This includes providing a flat accessible route from the Clarence Street car park into Market Jew Street. Other proposals currently being considered, as part of the Town Deal streetscape scheme, include a new zebra crossing between the entrance to the Wharfside shopping centre and the ramp opposite; removing low level cube seating which can be hazardous for people with sight loss; renewing existing seating to provide benches with arms and installing dropped kerbs, tactile paving and tactile cones. The Government is expected to confirm allocation of Town Deal funding to this scheme in the early Autumn.

Providing a new bus stop in Market Jew Street
Installed last year, the new shelter provides a dry place in the middle of the town centre for people to wait for buses. The design of the shelter also includes “real time” information on services.
Providing priority appointments for people with disabilities
The project team worked with a number of local businesses in the town centre, including opticians, to enable people with disabilities to be offered appointments between 9 am and 11 am and after 4pm where possible. Arrangements were also made to enable deliveries of prescriptions to be made to local nursing homes during the restricted period.

Removing potential hazards in the town centre for people with sight impairment
The project team worked with iSight Cornwall and Cornwall Council’s highways team to review the use of A boards and street furniture in Market Jew Street at the start of the scheme. Since then further discussions have been held to identify any other potential measures.

Work is taking place within the development of the Town Deal scheme to identify further projects to improve transport links and public transport services throughout the town, as well as providing 4000 sqm of improved public realm and urban green space.

There will be a large number of new seats provided on Market Jew Street. This will make the street more accessible for those who are less mobile and improve the experience for people visiting the town centre.

Work will also continue on implementing plans to remove the town centre sign which currently points traffic along Chyandour, with new signs being erected to encourage visitors to use the bypass to enter Penzance.

Further discussions will be held with disability groups and other interested parties to identify any other measures to improve access to the town centre.

Enforcement
The restrictions have continued to be enforced through the use of Cornwall Council’s civil parking enforcement team – with penalty charge notices issued to people found to be breaching the restrictions.

An average of up to 60 tickets have been issued per month, with 170 tickets issued to drivers during the period between October and December 2021,

Traffic monitoring data shows that there has been an 80% reduction in the number of people driving though Market Jew Street since the introduction of the scheme – from 250 vehicles per hour during the restricted period down to 30 to 40 vehicles per hour recorded in January 2022.

Timeline :
7 Feb: work begins on measures on Western Promenade

7 Feb: meeting with Disability Cornwall and iSight Cornwall

8 Feb: meeting between local Cornwall Councillors, portfolio holder for transport and chair of Town Deal Board to decide if the scheme should be made permanent.

17 Feb: If agreed, permanent TRO orders to be submitted

24 Feb: details of permanent TRO to be published in local media

End of Feb: start of consultation on additional blue badge spaces and any other measures required to support mitigation for people with disabilities

2 March: permanent TRO to come into force

7 March: meeting of Penzance Council to decide on plans for introduction of shop mobility scheme

End of March: completion of Western Promenade works

End of March: consultation on additional blue badge spaces completed

April: launch of the shop mobility scheme (dependent on Council decision on 7 March)

End of March: consultation on additional blue badge spaces completed

April: launch of the shop mobility scheme

Mid April: comms re blue badge TRO going live

18 April: start of work on Alexandra Road

18 May: measures on Alexandra Road completed

July: Town Deal Board / Cornwall Council submit Town Deal projects approved business cases to Government

Sep: Government confirms Town Deal funding allocation to Penzance and final projects supported

Market Jew Street

Part one of Healthy Streets is to trial a reduced traffic zone on Market Jew Street. Work on the first phase began in September 2020 under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), which means it’s a live consultation and changes can be made to the scheme as the trial takes place.

Members of the public are encouraged to give their views as the scheme progresses so changes can be made. All comments made during the 18 months trial period will be taken into account before a decision is made on a permanent scheme.

Below you will find plans and FAQ’s on the scheme. For further information or to give your views please click here

Cornwall Council has been working with local organisations, including Penzance Place Shaping Partnership, Penzance Council, Penzance BID, and Sustainable Penzance to develop a trial scheme to reduce through traffic in the town centre and increase opportunities for walking and cycling in and around the town.  This is part of Penzance’s commitment to revitalise its economy, promote sustainable transport and tackle climate change.

In the short term the scheme will also support the town’s Covid Recovery programme by reducing traffic in key parts of the town, helping members of the public navigate the narrow streets whilst maintaining safe social distancing.

The measures being proposed include:

  • reducing through traffic from Penzance town centre;
  • pedestrianising Market Jew Street;
  • modifying the Branwells Mill gyratory system,
  • reducing traffic on Western Promenade Road; and
  • extending the 20mph speed restriction within Penzance town centre

The trial is being led by Cornwall Council and, if agreed, will be carried out under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) process, with the measures remaining in place for 12 months.

The use of the experimental order also means that any parts of the scheme which are not working can be modified at any time without having to wait for the end of the trial.

Last year Penzance became one of the first councils in the country to declare a Climate Emergency, with members unanimously supporting plans to create a car free town centre, improved cycle and pedestrian access and reduce emissions.

Since then there have been growing calls from local residents to reduce traffic dominance to support the health, well-being and vitality of the town, with widespread public support for proposals to pedestrianise areas such as Market Jew Street and the Promenade received during last year’s Penzance Expo and Neighbourhood Plan consultation.

With research showing that 41% of local residents currently travel less than 5km to the town centre, many of these journeys could be made on foot or by bicycle, e-bike or public transport.

Post Covid consultation carried out by Cornwall Council has also found strong support for the pedestrianisation of high streets to support social distancing and a sustainable recovery, with 70% of people reporting they have enjoyed cleaner air outdoors.

Seven in 10 residents said they would be willing to continue home working and / or reduced travel after the pandemic is over to benefit the environment, with less pollution, a reduction in traffic and greater use of walking, cycling and public transport among the top three priorities for future changes.

Work on developing detailed proposals to reduce traffic in the town centre has been taking place during the past few months, with a trial scheme originally due to be introduced in September. However the impact of Covid 19 and the need to maximise public safety in the light of the re-opening of businesses, has led to the scheme being brought forward to August.

While the amount of traffic has been increasing since the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions, road traffic levels are currently at about 70% of typical July traffic levels. This provides sufficient headroom to introduce the trial in summer with the benefits it will bring to trading and economic activity. It is also apparent that more people are currently walking and cycling.

A range of measures to support safe social distancing have already been introduced in parts of the town centre. These include the temporary closure of Chapel Street on Thursday to Sunday evenings to provide more outdoor space for café, bars, pubs and restaurants.

The Government’s new pavement legislation is likely to see more businesses in the town centre seek to use the space outside their premises for seating and outdoor stalls during the next few weeks. Reducing through traffic in Market Jew street and other narrow streets will help improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists forced to use the main routes in the town centre.

We will, however, be monitoring traffic patterns throughout the trial and we can respond to issues that may arise.

This crisis has provided the opportunity to accelerate the trial, transform the town centre and make sure Penzance is a thriving place for the future.

The use of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order, introduced as part of the Government’s emergency Covid legislation, means there is no pre consultation process before a scheme is put in place.

However all comments made during the trial are treated as part of a “live consultation” and will be taken in account before any decision is made on a permanent scheme.

The scheme will be closely monitored throughout the trial to assess how it is working.

As this is an experimental order any parts of the scheme which are not working as expected can be modified at any time without having to wait for the end of the trial.

No

The aim of the scheme is to reduce the level of through traffic in the town centre during the main part of the day to improve the environment and safety of pedestrians and cyclists living, working and visiting Penzance.

Signage will be used to encourage people who don’t need to drive through the town centre to use the A30 rather than drive through the narrow streets.  Access will be maintained for emergency vehicles, buses and taxis, as well as for people who live and work in the town centre.

The costs of developing and implementing the first phase of the trial will be met by Cornwall Council.

Funding for further phases, including extending the 20mph speed restriction within Penzance town centre, and developing proposals for an electric hoppa bus and Tuk Tuk service, a new park and ride and a park and bike system and a dedicated Shop Mobility scheme, together with segregated cycle lanes and bike hubs, will be provided either by the Government or from Penzance’s Town Deal programme.

We recognise the importance of ensuring the town centre is accessible to everyone and will be working with representatives of a wide range of disability rights groups to develop a disabled access strategy to ensure that the scheme meets their needs.

While the proposals will mean blue badge holders will no longer be able to park in the 8 limited waiting spaces on Market Jew Street, additional blue badge spaces will be provided in the Harbour and the Greenmarket car parks with appropriate linkages to the main shopping streets.

The current 5 disabled parking spaces on Princes Street and 4 spaces on Chapel Street will also remain, together with the 45 blue badge spaces in Cornwall Council car parks in the town, including 33 in the Harbour / Wharfside car park.

We are also investigating the possibility of using some of the Town Deal funding to re-introduce a Shop Mobility scheme in the town.

The signage and traffic regulation orders proposed should make the access restrictions reasonably self-enforcing.  The layout of the road and the markings will also positively reinforce and enable traffic management. However, Cornwall Council will be monitoring traffic at the restrictions to ensure that the restrictions are being adhered to.

Waiting and loading restrictions on Market Jew Street that will be restricted during the time periods for the pedestrianisation will be enforced by the existing Cornwall Council civil enforcement officers as part of their duties within the town.

Already recognised as the first place in the country to receive plastic free status, implementing this scheme will enable Penzance to build on its green credentials by developing measures to increase opportunities for walking and cycling, reduce traffic in the town centre and improve public transport.

Reducing through traffic will help ensure the safety of the people who live, work, and visit Penzance at the same time as supporting the development of an attractive “café style culture” which will help attract more shoppers to the town centre.

With the pedestrianisation of town centres seen as a key factor in regenerating local economies at the same time as tackling climate change and ensuring a sustainable future, Penzance can lead the way in becoming a thriving town for the future.

The bus stop has been relocated to provide greater space for people to wait for the bus and to pass along Market Jew Street given the current safe distancing guidelines. The footway is very narrow outside Boots and the existing bus stop results in people bunching up in close proximity which is not ideal in the current situation. In addition, the relocated bus stop has benches nearby,  assisting those people who need to sit whilst waiting for a bus.While moving the existing bus shelter as part of the trial has removed some weather protection, should the overall trial prove to be positive, a shelter will be provided adjacent to the new bus stop.

In the short term road markings in the vicinity of Albert Street and the Branwells Mill gyratory system will be changed as part of the trial scheme. This is being done to reduce the volumes of traffic using Market Jew Street as a ‘short cut’ across Penzance.

If the trial scheme proves effective and is supported by the wider community, the longer term aspirations would be to physically change the Branwells Mill gyratory area to provide much greater levels of pedestrian accessibility. This would then enhance the local environment around the businesses at the eastern end of Market Jew Street and those that front onto the gyratory system.

These are used to assist people with sight impairment so that they know that the green man symbol is showing. As part of the yellow push button units for traffic signal controlled pedestrian crossings, there is a metal cone underneath the push button unit that spins / rotates when the green man symbol is illuminated.. Audible beepers are also used in some locations but cannot be used everywhere, particularly where there are multiple crossings in close proximity as there can be potential confusion as to which crossing is ‘beeping’.

Entering the pedestrian and cycle zone is a moving traffic offence which can only be enforced by the police, outside of London. The reason we have switched from a blue bus lane sign at the Market Place end of Market Jew Street to a red ‘no entry’ sign is to reinforce the moving traffic offence should unauthorised vehicles pass the sign. The sign at the Branwells Mill gyratory sign is a regulatory sign, with a red circle, and needs to be obeyed. As part of the pedestrian and cycle zone we have retained the no loading restrictions during the zone operational period and restricted loading and waiting to specific areas outside of the operational period. Therefore, if a vehicle does drive through the restriction and then stop to load or wait, this can be enforced by the civil parking enforcement officers. We are aware that some vehicles may ignore the signage and drive through and will be monitoring the levels of compliance during the trial. Should the trial be successful and supported by the wider community we would look to introduce more permanent measures to ensure compliance with the restrictions.  These could include rising bollards or barriers to restrict entry to the pedestrian zone during the restricted times.

No, blue badge holders will not be able to enter the zone or park between the hours of 11am-4pm. As well as the prohibition of motor vehicles restriction (signed at the start of the Pedestrian and cycle zone) prohibiting access between 11am-4pm, loading restrictions will be in place for the entire length of Market Jew Street between the hours or 11am-4pm. Outside of the zone operational times, limited waiting bays will be available for use by anyone for up to 30 minutes, or for an unlimited time by blue badge holders (between the hours of 4pm -11am).

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